Monday, September 8, 2014

Long-term Side Effects

The Mystery within

It’s harvest time and a time to be grateful.  But I also feel overwhelmed this time of the year with the bounty of fresh produce from my Springdale Farm Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share.  Getting a box of more produce than one can reasonably use in a week before the next box comes along, and also finding ways to prepare, and learning to eat some vegetables I normally would not buy, can be challenging.  So I am blanching and freezing some things, preparing whole meals ahead, freezing those, and investigating new recipes.  It can be exhausting, even for me, who generally likes to cook.  In my memoir, “God Never Hurries, I wrote: “Cooking is sometimes soothing ritual for me.”   

While preparing stuffed peppers for the freezer I listened to Krista Tippetts’ On-Being guest, Chef Dan Barber, who extolled the many blessings of cooking locally grown food from great taste, to real nutrition, to environmental sensitivity and feeling a connection to the land of which we are a part.  I understand the good sense he made but admittedly was surprised by his optimism when he said the movement to eat locally is just getting started.  In the future, people will demand more health from the foods they eat.  I hope he’s right.  And I am wondering, how different would our world be if everyone had the opportunity to eat nutritious food?  Healthy food is medicine for the body, mind and soul with wonderful long-tem side effects.  Sadly, the evidence for not eating well is all around us.

But I found it very hard to stay in the kitchen this weekend with fresh sun bright air outside and a bike trail beckoning.  So I took a long break from my cooking and a long ride.  When I get on my bike its like subtracting twenty years off my age for I can bike much more easily than I can walk.  Dusk is my usual time to ride when I finally put an end to the days work and few others are on the trail.  On this sunny Sunday afternoon there were many people out riding.  I felt to be in good company when bikers, looking close to me in age, zoomed past.  I rode the trail to the new park in Port Washington that juts out into Lake Michigan where white boats of many different sizes and shapes moved in and out of the deep blue harbor.  There I lay down on a picnic table to dangle my legs to stretch the muscles I would need for the upgrade and headwind I would face riding home.  I was soothed by the wind-rustled leaves in the young tree above me that was back dropped by a bright blue, near cloudless sky.

The ride home was much more work than I imaged it would be.  But after changing into dry clothes, and a brief rest with more stretching, I was back in the kitchen invigorated and ready to cook some more.  It occurred to me that even though cooking and biking can sometimes be very hard work, most worthwhile things are.  Chef Dan Barber said, “Cooking is a contribution to the betterment of the world.”

What if we could all cook and bike our way into a better world and a better us?                   

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